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McConnell to begin KC-46 A-check

U.S. Airmen with the 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron tow a new KC-46A Pegasus aircraft into Hangar 1126 at McConnell Air Force base, Kansas, Jan. 25, 2019. The KC-46 was displayed at center stage to allow guests a closer look inside the new aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alan Ricker)

U.S. Airmen with the 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron tow a new KC-46A Pegasus aircraft into Hangar 1126 at McConnell Air Force base, Kansas, Jan. 25, 2019. The KC-46 was displayed at center stage to allow guests a closer look inside the new aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alan Ricker)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. – “The realization that we are contributing to laying the foundation for KC-46 sustainment is truly a chance of a lifetime,” said Tech. Sgt. Noah Briggs, 22d Maintenance Squadron KC-46 A-check lead dock controller. “However, the understanding that we are laying the foundation, has also driven our commitment to ensuring we lay a solid and innovative foundation that future Airmen can build on.”

Beginning next week, Team McConnell is scheduled to begin the Air Force’s first KC-46 periodic maintenance inspections. These evaluations are known as “Letter Checks” both in commercial aviation and now on the service’s new air refueling aircraft, and the A-Check is the first in the inspection sequence.

“An A-check is a 60-day maintenance inspection that focuses on the lubrication and inspection of critical aircraft components,” explained Briggs.

Briggs explained that the A-check team primarily lubricates landing gear, flight controls and engine components. The team is responsible for conducting multiple operational tests, which can include testing warning systems to operationally checking the center drogue system. Briggs also noted that the team is responsible for general visual inspections of the entire aircraft and detailed visual inspections on particular components.

“There are five separate A-check inspections: 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 6A,” said Staff Sgt. Ralph D’Ambrosio III, KC-46 work manager. “Each has its own A-check monthly cycle. The 1A is done every 2 months [and sets] the groundwork for every [subsequent] A-check Cycle Matrix.”

Briggs further outlined that after the team performs a 1A inspection, the inspection criteria build upon themselves, and after periods of additional aircraft usage, will be combined with and advance to a 2A inspection that includes more in-depth inspection checklist items.

“The 2A inspection only includes the tasks that are done every 4 months, the 1A tasks must be performed to complete a 2A-check,” said D’Ambrosio.

While completing the first A-check, the team will be establishing a baseline for how long each A-check will take in the future.

“We are estimating that the first A-check will be between 240 and 320 work hours based on our initial training,” said Briggs. “We have hopes of cutting that time down significantly as we continue to grow and improve our processes.”

New ideas, plans and processes are being created here at McConnell to help build the foundation for the KC-46 fleet that will spread throughout the Air Force.

“Working on the KC-46 has been a very exciting and rewarding experience for myself,” said D’Ambrosio. “It has given me the opportunity to work alongside some of Boeing’s finest. Also, this has given a select few of us the opportunity to lay out the foundation and become a cornerstone for the new A-check inspections here at McConnell.”